Anyone in Dr. Jane Carducci’s Shakespeare class would vouch for the fact that Carducci felt hostile toward me, but one had the courage to help. I got by by pretending I didn’t care, but it affected me greatly that she in her authoritative position would belittle me in front of my peers for seemingly no reason.
One day she actually scoffed while I was in front of the class doing a presentation. I could feel my face getting hot and I suddenly had to go to the bathroom, when Heidi Jo Jones, the teacher’s pet, asked Carducci, right in the middle of my presentation, why she had to try to put me down in front of the class.
The professor was dumbstruck as the class sat in silence, and then my student colleague turned back to me and told me to continue. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt a similar level of gratitude toward another human being before or since, and the incident taught me that it is not enough to silently disagree with mistreatment of others;
it is not enough to whisper under your breath you’re against an injustice while out of the earshot of the perpetrator, therefore not risking one’s standing: it’s the use of one’s standing, or privilege, handed down just as arbitrarily as another’s exclusion, that will actually affect change.